Best wood for a pizza oven
Have you ever wondered What is the best wood for a pizza oven?
The best wood for a pizza oven is dried seasoned hardwood or fruitwood. High-quality hardwoods that have been kiln dried will help you make the most of your pizza oven.
Why is Oak the best wood to use in pizza ovens?
Seasoned hardwoods like Oak have always been the best wood to use in a pizza oven. It is denser and heavier and as a result better for pizza cooking. This is primarily because it burns for longer and creates a higher heat.
While there are other hardwoods you could consider oak remains one of the easiest to source and because of this is more reliable. It also provides a moderate but strong amount of smoke to help fuel your oven. Importantly it will do this without overpowering the flavor of your pizza, providing you with just the right amount of smoky flavour.
Wood that you should never use in your Pizza oven?
Glued, chemically treated, paint pressure treated, or laminated wood like plywood should never be burnt in your pizza oven. You can if you wish to use untreated pallets or scraps of construction number to create kindling to help you get your firewood burning. But only if you’re 100% certain that the wood has never been chemically treated. If you have any doubt, don’t use it as you do not want these toxins anywhere near your pizza and we’d always recommend natural firelighters to get your pizza oven started.
Charcoal is another fuel that you should never use in a pizza oven as it produces harmful carbon monoxide. At a much higher level than any hardwood. As you will need additional special equipment to detect the levels of carbon monoxide, this creates a safety issue.
Charcoal will increase your pizza oven’s heat more than any firewood but this heat does not transfer efficiently inside pizza ovens. This is especially so in brick ovens as they get their heat in three different ways from heat transfer, thermal equilibrium and flame refraction from the dome. Because charcoal isn’t designed to produce any direct flame, you instantly lose one of these important sources of heat.
Softwoods like red pine and other woods that have high resin or oil contents should also be avoided. Using this firewood in your pizza oven just create excessive soot and coats the chimney and inside of the oven with creosote.
Some woods that fit into this oily or sappy category are listed below:
- White birch
What other woods are pleasant for Pizza Ovens
There are lots of other woods which are great in pizza ovens.
If you’re looking for an alternative to Oak hickory creates a similar aroma, and I can also burn for a long time at a high temperature. However, it will produce a stronger flavor than oak and it might be just a little too smokey for some people’s taste.
But depending on the ingredients that you are using for your pizza toppings some lend themselves well to more smoky flavours, for example, pepperoni, jalapenos and beef can work well with hickory flavorings. But if you’re using something that has a slightly more delicate flavor such as a light cheese or fish using pure hickory wood could easily overpower the flavor of your pizza and should be used carefully.
If you’re looking to produce a more unique flavour, pecan offers a beautifully sweet smoky dark flavor that provides an alternative to your more traditional woods. It is slightly similar to hickory while not being as intense and goes well with pepperoni, barbecue chicken, or any dark meat pizza.
The only problem I have with applewood is that you really have ever found the fruit itself a pizza topping. This makes it an interesting choice as firewood for pizza ovens But like most fruit Woods it is becoming increasingly popular for outdoor pizza ovens because it burns at high temperatures and offers your food and unique layer of sweetness. If you’re a fan of cheese pizzas, this could be the wood to use in your pizza oven.
Similar to Apple, cherry provides a sweet flavour that’s a little deeper and pretty much goes with any pizza, but I used it primarily for beef, sausage, smoked pastrami and other dark meat pizzas
Maple is a popularly used fruitwood in pizza ovens, some people use it as it creates a lighter flavour than cherry wood and goes very well with pork and poultry. If you’re making pizzas with ham barbecue chicken topping maple could be the perfect choice of wood, but if you’re working with darker meats, it may not produce the flavor you want.
This wood produces an even lighter flavor than maple and is very popular for poultry or fish so if you’re making a salmon or tuna based pizza this could be the wood to use
As you see the other woods that we recommend are primarily fruit woods as they bring a distinct advantage because of the fragrance that they offer your pizzas. Obvious applewood is probably the most popular because of the flavour and aroma it creates and the fact it produces top levels of heat. The only time we wouldn’t recommend using applewood is if you’re working with a smaller oven as can leave an ash residue on your pizzas.
You can also use wood pellets and wood chips that are kindling to light your wood-burning pizza oven just as long as they fit the untreated conditions listed above and your pizza oven is made to use them.
Because of the cost of and dangers of transporting wood. The best wood for the pizza oven will largely depend on where you live. The most responsible thing to do is to source local wood from local suppliers.
If you haven’t bought your wood-fired pizza oven yet then please take a look at our online shop.
Don’t forget to get yourself a good-quality pizza oven thermometer. These are essential once you light your pizza oven and we’ve listed some of the best in our Best Pizza Oven Thermometers 2021 article.